Great PR is the key to reaching net zero – and quickly

A passionate advocate for renewables PR, Caroline Tilley shares her thoughts on its value in our collective journey to net zero

Did you know the UK’s low carbon economy is now estimated to be worth £200bn? It’s a staggering figure, even more so when compared with that of manufacturing (£55.6bn) or construction (£132.9bn)*. Add in the 75,000 business and 1.2 million jobs and you can start to appreciate the scale which renewables is growing in the UK.

We have never been at a more pivotal point in our history. The demand to reach net zero is seeing exponential growth in clean energy, creating a huge opportunity for businesses to make a real difference. Many are capitalising on it too, with start-ups harnessing skills and solutions unlike anything we have ever seen before; from insect-like robots capable of carrying out repairs unaided, to businesses recycling wind turbines at the end of their life.

The attention has been on businesses and the government to push ahead with net zero. And while they are absolutely necessary to ensure we reach our 2050 target, everyone needs to do their bit to ensure this is a success.

If we are to tackle climate change head on, many believe it is on a grass roots level where we can drive the change that is needed. Businesses have long understood there is a vital need to engage with people on the ground to make sure their messages are understood. With clean energy, ensuring your messages are heard by the right people has never been more important. At COP27 last month, it was made very clear that efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C will require “rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions of 43 per cent by 2030 relative to the 2019 level.”*

It is a simple fact whatever action you want to take, you will have people for and against it. Clean energy is no different. Each time a new wind or solar farm is proposed, people want to find out more and have their say.

This thirst for knowledge about renewable infrastructure is only increasing as their popularity grows. As with any knowledge, the more the UK hears about green energy and infrastructure, the more questions it has about exactly what these projects mean for their future and that of their businesses, biodiversity and the country as a whole. The key to success is not only meeting those questions head on, but anticipating them before they are asked.

It is not only good PR, it is good sense to actively engage with as many people as possible about future projects. And yet, sometimes communication is an afterthought. For every company which is doing it right, like many of our clients, there are two more who are not thinking about it nearly enough.

So, what are the benefits?

  • A consistent voice and message throughout all of your material. From the printed page to websites, social media to brochures, and even in person and TV, placing your message at the heart of what you do consistently helps ensure our green targets stand a chance of being realised
  • Key media relations. Nurturing and valuing those relationships with journalists is very often the difference between whether they open your email or send it straight to junk
  • Flagging potential problems before they become so. Good PR is about anticipating those tough questions and thinking about how you answer them before they are asked. We should always be looking ahead; reacting is never enough.
  • Shouting about your solutions and achievements. It may sound obvious, but so many green companies are ignoring this as they simply don’t believe it is the right time to promote their successes. But by giving people the answers to their questions before they ask them, you not only succeed in spreading your message, you ensure people know their opinions are valued.
  • Reaching your audience in as many ways as possible. For a person to take on a message, they have to see it at least three times. One piece of coverage simply will not cut it and only PR professionals with a good background in renewables can reach the necessary audience to instil that change.

Time is increasingly moving on, and with it our chance of showing just what renewables can achieve for us and our future. By grasping the opportunity and utilising PR to show what we are capable of, we can do our part to tackle the climate emergency and reach our goal.

Caroline Tilley

If you want to know more about Pier’s work in renewables, head to our renewables page for more information or why not get in touch?

*References

The Guardian

COP27

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